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Online/Hybrid Student Attendance Policy

Attendance is critical to an institution appropriately using federal aid funds. Taking attendance allows the institution to make clear determinations of when a student last attended class, which then has implications for the use of federal funds and what federal funds must be returned. When it comes to attendance in an online course it may seem a little unclear how attendance is defined. Luckily, in the Federal Student Aid Handbook, there is very specific information to guide our decision-making when designing courses for an online/hybrid environment.

What does it mean to “attend” an online/hybrid class?

Student attendance in online/hybrid courses is defined as active participation in the course as described in each individual course syllabus. Online/hybrid courses will, at a minimum, have weekly mechanisms for student participation which can be documented through ASU’s Learning Management System by any or all of the following methods:

Students are required to log in to each online course by the second day during the week in which the course officially begins, or the day enrolled during late registration to complete the initial introductory work required in each online/hybrid course. As a component of attendance, ASU student email, course announcements and discussion forums should be checked frequently. The student is solely responsible for checking updates related to the course. In the case of an anticipated absence, such as military deployment, the student should contact the instructor in advance and plan to complete the required assignments. In case of an emergency (illness/accident or death in the family), a student should contact the instructor as soon as possible providing documentation supporting the need for any requested late submission of a graded event.

What does NOT sufficiently indicate attendance?

Per the handbook, “in a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student” (Federal Student Aid Handbook, 2024). Essentially, a student must be required to do more than just “log in” to be documented as having attended an online course.

Note: Nonattendance may affect financial aid. If a student fails to meet the attendance requirements, he or she may be recommended for withdrawal from the course.